Dark City Blue Bishop IPA

The first craft brewery in historic Asbury Park NJ, Dark City Brewing opened off Main Street 18 months ago. Founded by lifelong Mommouth County resident Kevin Sharpe, the brewery features three 15-barrel fermenters, and a tasting room that features a line of core beers, mixed with seasonal and occasional limited releases that vary from IPA’s to Gose with collaborations from other local business.

Blue Bishop is an IPA with mosaic hops, fermented over a huge amount of Blueberries for a fruity finish.

ABV: 5.5% IBU’s: 45

Pour: (from Tap) A dark reddish almost mahogany color, the blueberries really imparted a nice color.

Head: Thin off-white lingers before leaving with no lacing.

Nose: A nice mix of hops and fruit, each there without over powering.

Palate: Lots of flavor and easy to drink. The hops lead with nice pine notes and hint acidity before the blueberries send it all home. The finish is clean, refreshing and leaves you coming back for more.

Overall: Awesome stuff! Some of our Bottle King stores have started receiving small shipments of Dark City, but this is the first I’ve tried and definitely won’t be the last. Just awesome! Enjoy with spicy pulled pork, oysters or fruit salad.

Great Lakes Steady Rollin Session IPA

Great Lakes Brewing Company, founded in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway, was the first brewpub and microbrewery in Ohio. What started as a dream between two brothers, has grown into the 21st largest brewery by volume in United States. Important to Cleveland’s local identity, the brewery distributes over a dozen year round and seasonal brews.

Steady Rollin is single hop session IPA brewed with mosaic hops and made to be an easy going IPA.

ABV: 4.8%   IBU: 50

Pour: A really rich amber color, clean with plenty of carbonation.

Head: Off-white and very thin, disappears about as quickly as it formed.

Nose: Floral, there’s a nice hop presence giving a good amount of pine. Some light tropical fruits notes in the background as well.

Palate: Lighter than expected, almost no malt notes at all. The hops are mild but still have pine punch and almost sticky feel in the mouth. Tropical fruit brings it together with just hint of acidity at the end.

Overall: Not what I was expecting but an overall nice session IPA. The mosaic hops really leave nice flavor and fruit while still leaving a bit of resin behind. Another solid beer from team at Great Lakes Brewing. Pair with chicken, spicy grilled sausages or fresh summer salad.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints

Dogfish Head Flesh & Blood IPA

Founded in 1995, Dogfish HeadFlesh-&-Blood-IPA-Cans could be one the most recognizable craft beer brands in the United States. Located in Milton Delaware and founded by Sam Calagione, they brew around 175,000 barrels of beer a year (that’s over 5 million gallons!). Known for their “off centered ales,” this wide ranging portfolio is geared towards unique and non-traditional recipes.

The Flesh & Blood IPA is a well hopped IPA, brewed with orange peel, lemon flesh, and blood orange juice. Not just a clever name here folks!

7.5% ABV

Pour: A surprisingly dark copper/amber with hints of light orange hues.

Head: An off white/cream head that quickly dissipates.

Nose: Hints or orange and grapefruit with a balance of sweet aromas, and floral hop notes.

Palate: Lots of orange peel and bitter lemon right up front. A nice balance of sweet and sour. The finish is very smooth with a lingering taste of chocolate covered caramel. Think Riesen candies.

Overall: A very nice pour. I must say that I was a bit surprised by this one, based on previous experiences with Dogfish Head IPAs. The bitter hop notes were really nowehere to be found. Lots of juicy flavors with a nice sweet/toasty wheat backbone. Very well done. Great for the season, but also has the stuffing to hold up to the cooler temperatures in the fall.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Pints

Oskar Blues Fugli

Oskar-Blues-FugliWhat started as a small brewpub in the late 90’s, has become the craft beer behemoth Oskar Blues Brewery. Now with two breweries, one in Longmont, Colorado and a satellite brewery in Brevard, North Carolina, they have plans for a 3rd in location in Austin, Texas. Offering eight year round selections and a handful seasonal and limited brews, they continue to add new beers to their lineup.

This IPA is brewed with Ugli and Yuzu.

Ugli is a hybrid of grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. Yuzu is similar to a mandarin orange, but tarter. These two fruits give this IPA a strong citrus background.

ABV: 5.8% IBU’s: 60

Pour: a clear amber color, with minimal carbonation.

Head: A thin off hear forms quickly and vanishes even faster.

Nose: Lots of pine. like a west coast style IPA, with a good amount of citrus on the tail.

Palate: Medium bodied with a sticky characteristic. Big hop presence gives a good amount of pine notes. The fruit show up on the end and mellows the pine, while giving some citrus flavors. Finish is clean with mellow acidity.

Overall: Really good stuff. I was expecting more of a tropical style IPA, but this has a big west coast vibe. The fruit was more of a way to tame the hops while leaving some citrus hints behind. This would pair with mango habanero wings, mussels or carrot cake.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out Of 5 Pints

Magnify Vine Shine IPA

Over the last year or so,MAGNIFY VINESHINE2 the growing “eat local” craze has infiltrated the highly competitive craft beer market. Familiar names have been replaced on beer lists with local craft brews, and the coveted shelf space in retail outlets has been grabbed up by these, until recently, unknown breweries.

One of the big players in the market is Magnify Brewing Company, based out of Fairfield, NJ. I haven’t had the pleasure of stopping by the brewery yet, but a tasting event at our Wayne location last week allowed me to finally sample a few of their beers. We had a couple of limited releases, as well as Vine Shine IPA, one of their more widely distributed releases.

This beer was inspired by both East and West coast IPAs. Drawing its dank piney hop character from the West, and its smooth light bitterness, along with its dry “crushabilty” from the East.

6.5% ABV

Pour: Slightly hazy, straw yellow/gold.

Head: Fairly thin, foamy white.

Nose: Faint hop aromas with hints of citrus.

Palate: Smooth, low bitterness, very modest notes citrus/tropical fruit flavors. Finish is very fresh and clean.

Overall: The brewery describes this one as “crushable.” I would say that is a fair statement. This local brew really hit the spot on a warm spring day. Great intro to the IPA style as it is not over the top with hoppy bitterness.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA

Jai-Alai-IPAIts official. Cigar City Brewing has made its way to NJ!

After years of waiting, the Tampa cult brewery will be available year-round starting with their Jai Alai IPA. Founded in 2009, Cigar City has won numerous awards and has grown from producing around 1,000 barrels a year, to over 65,000 last year. They also formed a partnership with Oskar Blues, which means even more markets should be seeing this IPA in the coming months.

Jai Alai IPA has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Best Florida Beer – Championship Gold Medal.

ABV: 7.5% IBU’s: 70

Pour: A nice golden color, hazy without much carbonation.

Head: A small one finger head, frothy and off-white in color. Fades quickly leaving moderate lacing.

Nose: Crisp pine notes with papaya and other tropical fruits.

Palate: Sticky at first. Medium-bodied with light fruits and hints of wheat. Finishes clean with subtle hops.

Overall: This was a great IPA and the perfect beer to get people excited for Cigar City. We’re looking forward to more releases in the coming months. Pairs well with empanadas, BBQ Ribs or spicy dishes.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Pints

Stone Pataskala Red X IPA

stone_pataskala_red_ipaSince being founded in 1996, Stone has made its mark on the craft beer world. Starting in San Diego, they’ve since become so popular a 2nd brewery was opened in Richmond and even a 3rd in Belgium. Thier beers show the West Coast roots, being hop dominated with above average ABV’s. Called an “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” twice by Beer Advocate, the accolades keep coming from this SoCal legend.

ABV: 7.3% IBU: 70

Pour: A rustic deep red color with plenty of carbonation swirling up.

Head: A firm off white head raises and lingers, sticking to the side of the glass as it slowly disappears.

Nose: Plenty of pine notes here, followed by hints of lemon. Bread like aromas of malt on the back end.

Palate: Nice and balanced, rich malts lead to crisp pine needles. Medium bodied with a sticky resin like feel that coats your mouth.

Overall: I’m a big fan of Red IPA’s, most brewers have found the perfect balance of hops giving that IPA feel with a strong malt background to give weight and Stone really hit the mark on this one. This was one impressive brew, the malty backbone makes this IPA one to enjoy on those cold nights until spring is in full swing. A nice pairing with spicy chicken, tangy chesses or even pound cake with a little fruit on top.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints